“Beach-front amazing property”, “designer finishes”, “all new stainless steel appliances”. Sound familiar? What about “move-in ready”, “clean house” and, the most common one, “a dream come true”.  Can I get a snooze button to go with that? While photography is a big part of the real estate business, words have the power to tap into people’s emotions and ignite their imagination. What would it be to hang Christmas Stockings over that fireplace or to host a big dinner party in the backyard? If you can write a unique and compelling story for each house that you’re selling, buyers will start the bidding war in no time. Here are some copywriting tips that will help you sell more and much, much faster.

Start with a catchy headline

Every good story needs a powerful headline – nobody willingly chooses a book with a dull cover or a flat title. And what does a good cover have? A mind-blowing design and an intriguing headline. The design part, in this case, is your photographer’s job, but the title part – entirely yours. Consider this your first and most important chance at drawing buyers in and enticing them into reading the rest of your property description.

  • Be specific: use descriptive words, but don’t waste valuable space with interjections like “wow”, “aww”, “ooh”, “yay”, “whoa”, “aha” etc.
  • Do not include your website address, phone number or property address in the headline
  • Focus on the benefit of the property or the novelty of it
  • Think like a tabloid journalist: what’s the most outrageously positive think you could say about the property in under 60 characters?
  • Don’t yell at your buyers! Use sentence case or capitalize each word of your title, but avoid all caps at all costs
  • Stay away from profane language and don’t include misleading information

Write in your own voice

The most important advice I ever got while studying journalism was to write at an average English level. If an ordinary man understands my vocabulary, so will a University professor. That means you should avoid overly pompous words when listing a property or write in a tone that doesn’t reflect your style. Real estate copywriting is a craft that needs time to mature and you will get there with a lot of practice, but don’t try to impress too much from the start. If a property is found not to be what was advertised, your reputation will take a serious hit and you’ll lose business. So, write the way you speak, but with a sound grammar check.

Use power words

Do a keyword search and find out what your buyers are looking for. Better yet, take a look at Zillow’s research for 2016 and try to include as many powerful keywords as possible. It goes without saying that you should only make use of those which reflect the property in case. Another important thing to remember is that buying a house is an emotional decision for most people so don’t shy away from using emotional words in your property description. Here are some examples:

  • A beautiful remodel; a gardener’s dream; great price for the square footage; perfect for a first time home buyer
  • Free; sale; new; guaranteed; special; improved; exclusive; valuable; discount; under priced; reduced; now; authentic; practical; absolutely lowest; lifetime; attractive; just arrived
  • Updated kitchen; refinished hardwood floors; spacious floor plan; sunset views

Think of your audience

What type of house are you trying to sell and what is your real estate targeted audience? Think about your clients’ base over, let’s say, the last two years. Were they first-time home buyers or investors? Local or out of town? Keep that in mind when writing a property description and envision the type of people who will likely live there. Or, in the case of an investor, what will appeal to his financial interests. Writing specifically for your type of buyers will have an immense impact on the overall sales results.

Don’t be boring or repetitive!

Listings should be informative, alluring, and not in the least repetitive. If you already checked the main features of the property in the appropriate section, don’t start twisting them around to fit the description box, too. People got the main idea, now they want to start dreaming and your words, together with a gallery of realistic images, will spark their imagination. Be descriptive, but don’t overdo it! The Internet is suffocated with empty words and subjective phrases, and listings are no different – “Picturesque setting offers a great lifestyle for the fortunate owner!” Don’t pass the chance to tell people about the newly renovated fireplace in the living room or the fenced in yard and nice landscape. Specific features, with the appropriate illustration, grab more attention than exquisite adjectives.

In the end, you should always keep location in mind when listing certain features. For example, a fully-functional fireplace or heated floors have a greater impact in colder climates, while an outdoor pool or a manicured lawn are appealing to buyers in warmer climates. With time and exercise, you’ll learn what language attracts your clients and what features to focus on. One last advice before I walk out the door: always be honest in your property description and never hide the truth, no matter how ugly it may be. You’re free to beautify some features, but don’t go overboard with superfluous verbiage!